10 English Pronunciation Errors by Portuguese Speakers
[ssba] What are the main errors for Portuguese speakers in English pronunciation? Here we have highlighted some of the common errors experienced by Portuguese and Brazilian students at Pronunciation Studio:
The ‘th’ sounds /θ/ and /ð/ do not occur in Portuguese, which means that Portuguese-speakers may commonly use /s/ or /z/ instead:
I think three of them are Northerners.
Typically heard when Brazilian students speak – the smooth English ‘r’ sound is replaced by a Brazilian ‘r’ which is made further down in the throat with a lot of friction and sometimes sounds like ‘h’ to English ears:
Remember to reduce, reuse or recycle.
3. Silent ‘r’
In GB English, we don’t pronounce a written ‘r’ when it comes before a consonant sound or if it is at the end of a word:
far, sport, affirm, teacher, worthwhile
Portuguese-speakers sometimes miss the /h/ sound – though there are some exceptions (honour, vehicle) it is normally pronounced:
Hi Harry, how was your holiday in Hastings?
5. dark l [ɫ]
Brazilian students typically round the lips at the same time as saying a final /l/ sound, giving a sort of ‘w’ sound. Remember to keep the lips relaxed and use the tongue to touch the alveolar ridge and raise at the back of the mouth:
small, poll, hold, field, alter
The English /p/,/t/ and /k/ sounds are often ‘aspirated’ – when a native speaker says these sounds, they release quite a lot of air just after the sound, this doesn’t occur in Portuguese:
Toby took Tamara to Tuscany two times.Pamela promised Peter to park carefully.Karen and Katie kept cuddling the incredibly cute camels.
Sometimes Brazilian students turn ‘d’ into a /dʒ/ sound, but In English, the /d/ sound stays the same no matter which vowel comes after it:
difficult, divide, different
The most common vowel sound in English is weak – the schwa /ə/, but it can appear in unpredictable places and with the spelling of any vowel, Portuguese speakers may replace it with a more predictable vowel based on spelling:
father, about, compare, celebration, second
9. /i:/ vs. /ɪ/
English has two close vowels: /i:/ and /ɪ/, where Portuguese only uses a sound closer to /i/, so Portuguese-speakers need to relax the mouth more to make /ɪ/:
feet / fit, leave / live, green / grin, seep / sip, deed / did
One of the frustrating things about learning English is that the relationship between the spelling and sound is less straightforward compared to Portuguese. Portuguese-speakers should remember that not all letters will be pronounced the way they look and some will even be silent!
office, washed, looked (silent ‘e’)walk, talk, folk (silent ‘l’)Germany (silent r, vowels /ɜ:/ and /ə/, not /e/ and /æ/)
This article uses English IPA symbols – learn each of them with pronunciation notes, diagrams and audio in Pronunciation Studio’s free Starter Pack.